I am looking for a phrase/saying/quote in German that has a special meaning to a relative who is terminally ill. I don't have much to go on, here is what I know:

  • My relative thinks he (most probably) read it in a story that was featured in the hunting magazine "Wild und Hund", no earlier than 2013
  • The story was about two friends (hunters) who lost sight of each other over time.
  • In the story, one of the friends finds out the other has died. In this context, the trauerspruch is uttered.

The saying was (in the best German my relative can remember, spelling and grammatical errors mine):

Wen jemand uber einige jahren von mir redet, bitte antworten sie, mit einem kleiner lächeln, ja, ich habe ihm auch gekennt.

Which should translate to something along the lines of:

When in later years someone speaks of me, please answer with a (little) smile: Yes, I also knew him.

My questions, in order of importance:

  • What would be the grammatically correct way of writing the phrase?
  • Is this a known German saying or quote and if so, where can I find more information about it (I tried google of course, but maybe my phrasing was off)
  • Does anyone recognize the story it supposedly came from? We already read every issue of Wild and Hund we could get our hands on (most of them, since 2013) and asked their editorial office, but to no avail.

Please feel free to use as much German as you like in your answer, I'll understand fine. (I'ts the speaking and writing where I struggle)

  • 1
    Are you sure it's German in origin? Because it reminds me of the lyrics to the Alan Parsons song Old and Wise. "And someday in the mist of time / When they asked me if I knew you / I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine..."
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:24
  • 1
    I'm sure my relative read it in German, but it's not at all impossible that the author was paraphrasing a saying/quote from another language. I hope we can find the origin of the story and the author so we can be sure. I'll give the song a listen, thanks for your input!
    – Douwe
    Dec 8, 2017 at 9:08

2 Answers 2


As you speak German ... ;)

Hier einige Varianten bei denen der erste + zweite Teil und die wörtliche Rede je nach gewünschter Stimmung ausgetauscht werden können.

Wenn in einigen Jahren jemand von mir spricht, so antworte mit einem (kleinen) Lächeln: "Ja, auch ich habe ihn gekannt."

Wenn in einigen Jahren wer von mir erzählt, so antworte mit einem (leisen) Lächeln: Ja, ich kannte ihn auch."

Wenn in einigen Jahren jemand nach mir fragt, dann sage ihm mit einem (kleinen) Lächeln: "Ja, ich habe ihn auch gekannt."

Evtl wäre es aber am besten und einfachsten im Forum des Magazins nachzufragen. Vielleicht erinnert sich jemand an die Geschichte und die genaue Formulierung: https://forum.wildundhund.de/

  • When in past years someone speaks about me, answer with a little smile: Yes I knew him too. Falls jemand seit einigen Jahren über mich redet, antworten Sie mit einen kleinen Lächeln "Ja, ich habe ihn auch gekannt". Note: Lächeln (smile) makes no noise - also ist immer "leise" - also fehl am Platz.
    – Harry
    Dec 6, 2017 at 17:16
  • This seems to be a comment to another answer, since only an answer uses "leise". Please do only post answers when you really do want to answer the original question. This is not a forum. When you have enough reputation, you can leave comments under the answer you refer to. Please take the tour of the site.
    – Robert
    Dec 6, 2017 at 18:26
  • I am aware you can't comment yet and thx to @Robert for pointing out the rules. Just for clarification: "leise" may also mean: kaum merklich, kaum wahrnehmbar, [nur] schwach ausgeprägt, in Andeutung vorhanden, leicht https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/leise (bottom of the page for examples)
    – mtwde
    Dec 6, 2017 at 23:00
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    I can't believe I didn't check if there was a forum, we did ask the the editors but somehow nobody thought about that :( A german speaking friend is going to help me with the forum. The translations are very helpful too, thanks a million!
    – Douwe
    Dec 7, 2017 at 14:48

A possible german translating could be

Wenn in einigen Jahren jemand über mich spricht, bitte antworten Sie mit einem kleinen Lächeln: "Ja, ich habe ihn auch gekannt."

I think such a phrase is often used at funerals or memorial services, but it is no known quote.

I found a similar phrase here where it is noted that the author is unknown (unbekannt), so this are common sayings.

  • Thanks for your input, it's a helpful start for me. I will wait a little longer to see if anything more will come up, if not I will mark this answer as accepted.
    – Douwe
    Dec 6, 2017 at 11:42
  • I don't think that "mit einem kleinen Lächeln" is a good expression in this context. Just "antworten Sie mit einem Lächeln" would be the best solution here; "mit einem kleinen Lächeln" may tend to have a connotation of being upset or sarcastic. At least for my understanding. Dec 7, 2017 at 10:20
  • @ChristianGeiselmann Mein Übersetzungsvorschlag zielte (nur) darauf ab, den Spruch, an den der OP sich erinnerte, in (grammatikalisch) korrektem Deutsch wiederzugeben.
    – IQV
    Dec 7, 2017 at 11:20
  • I accepted @mtwde's answer because of the tip of using the forum, nevertheless thanks, It's really heartwarming to get help like this in these challenging times.
    – Douwe
    Dec 7, 2017 at 14:53

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